Chinese art and antiques news round up

China Daily 04/03/2012 page1
The Luoyang shovel allows users to extract a long section of earth while preserving the soil structure. Zhang Xiaoli / For China Daily

I recently stumbled across a Chinese antiques themed scraper site, aggregating headlines related obviously to Chinese art and antiques. For those of you who are not savvy in the lingo of the web, “scraper sites” are basically spam sites which glean all of their content off of the web and repost it in its entirety (as their own content). Usually sites like that are put up for the purpose of selling ads on the site – in many ways they ruin the web when it comes to search engine by polluting results with content that doesn’t even belong on their site . I won’t post the link here as I frown on the practice, having found my own content scraped a few times already. But I must admit, in this case it did lead me to so interesting recent articles which are worth sharing. Unlike them, I had to spend some time finding the original source of the article in order to provide credit where it is due.



A fascinating look at the world of grave robbers in China and how they have spawned wildly popular pulp serials chronicling their (highly illegal) adventures.  Definitely worth a read. A few noteworthy quotes:

  • Chinese grave robbers like to refer to themselves in polite company as “hobbyist archaeologists,” or kaoguxue aihaozhe (考古学爱好者).
  • Ask ( Wèn) is the method of casing an area by talking to the locals, especially the elderly, and finding out information about the location of nearby tombs, and the wealth of those buried therein. Grave robbers skilled in this technique normally dress like a wandering feng shui master, and are blessed with the gift of the gab.
  • Luoyang shovel 洛阳铲 Luòyáng chǎn.
    Invented in 1923 by a grave robber from Luoyang, the shovel is the one article of archaeological equipment that no self-respecting grave robber should be without. A U-shaped cylinder some two inches in diameter, the Luoyang shovel allows the user to extract a long section of earth while preserving the soil structure. Thus the grave robber can analyze the soil for any evidence of underground structures.


The full article can be found here at The World of Chinese or here at the China Daily. Backup PDF file here in case of broken links: Of tombs, traps & the intrepid _ The World of Chinese.

China Daily 04/03/2012 page1



‘Antiques’ are not as old as they look

Surprise, surprise – we have discussed this many times in the past here. Nevertheless, the China Daily is actually pretty  good for antiques related headlines. Sometimes the articles are original. Other times they are English translations of articles in Chinese language newspapers. Recently an article worth having a read is  ‘Antiques’ are not as old as they look which is a follow up to another article worth reading called “Tracing China’s Faked Antiques” which was published in Chinese on Artron, a Chinese art and antiques website. Basically it discusses and maps out which areas in China are specialized in each type of fake antique.


Full article on the China Daily website here and here. Backup PDF here: ‘ANTIQUES’ are not as old as they look


China’s $13 Billion Art Fraud — And What It Means For You.

A semi controversial article in Forbes on China’s art market which includes Chinese antiques.  There is also good alternative view and rebuttal on JingDaily. A couple of quotes really pop out though:

  • Artificially-inflated prices and manipulated sales have so disrupted the values for Chinese art and antiques that the true value of many of them remains unclear – meaning that buyers of Chinese art, antiques and antiquities worldwide are likely to pay far more for things than they’re worth.
  • Basically, there appear to be a pair of schemes through which such manipulations take place, both often geared either toward money laundering or the bribing of government officials
  • While the enormous bulk of the Chinese antique and antiquities market remains in mainland China, Westerners are starting to move in on the action, many duped by what appears to be exorbitant growth and a fabulous investment opportunity.

The last one I have seen myself with punters and people with no antiques expertise or experience whatsoever jumping into the industry hoping to make a quick buck.


Original article here.

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